Caribbean Rubbed Pork Chops with Mango Salsa

I’m always a little leery of foods with Caribbean spice blends.  They always sound great to me, with a lot of the Latin flavors I love like citrus, cumin, and tropical fruits.  But they also usually include some traditionally autumnal spices (for those of us who live in the US) like cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.  I once had a bad experience with a Jamaican Jerk recipe that left my chicken wings tasting like pumpkin pie and I’ve been gun shy ever since.  When the quantities are perfect however, magical things happen.  I had a good feeling about a recipe I saw in this month’s Cooking Light (and let’s face it; you all know I can’t resist a mango salsa) so I gave it a shot.  I thought the spice mix was spot-on and the mango salsa was the perfect addition.  My whole family loved it (even my kiddos, but see my sneaky-mom trick later in this post) and the fact that it can be on the table in under 30 minutes is a bonus!

The spice rub is an easy mix of coriander, cumin, sugar, ginger, salt, allspice, and ground red pepper.  I was out of red pepper so I tossed in a few red pepper flakes and it worked great.

Dump it right over your pork chops.  On a side note; can someone tell me why chicken and pork is so often sold in three packs??  It’s either 2, 3 or 6 but never 4.  Wouldn’t it make sense to have a 4 pack?  I’ve never understood that.  I thought there must be some reason that I was somehow excluded from knowing, but then I randomly heard Rachel Ray ask the same thing on her show the other day and that settled it.  There’s a strange society of meat packers out there trying to confuse us.

Okay back to reality.  Rub that stuff in.  Take off your rings and get your hands grubby.

Toss those on a grill pan, or on the bbq like I did.  They only take a few minutes to cook, so while they do, chop up your salsa.  Super duper easy; equal parts tomato, mango and cilantro.  For all of you cilantro haters out there (ya, you know who you are) I think this would still be really good with fresh parsley.  I doubled this part because I knew I would want extra; and I was right!

Then, in goes a splash of both red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.  I threw in a little salt and pepper in there too; because I’m a rebel like that.

When your chops are done grilling, toss on the salsa.  Done!

So fresh, so flavorful, and so healthy.  Perfect end-of-summer meal if you ask me.


Here’s a little trick I use all the time with my kids.  They’re still young so it totally works.  The first thing my little boys did when they saw this on their plates was way, “Ewww, are those POMATOES on our chicken?!  What’s this green stuff?? Why is there fruit on the meat?!”  Rule #1 :  It’s always chicken.   Then I told them that it was a special kind of food from the Caribbean and explained where that was and told them it was what Captain Jack Sparrow eats.  Then it went from whining about po-matoes to “Really?  This is what pirates eat?  I can talk like a pirate.  Did you know some pirates have peg legs?  Mom, where do pirates take showers?  Does Jack Sparrow have a wii?  Can I be a pirate for Halloween? This is the coolest dinner ever!”  And before we knew it they had eaten up everything on their plates.  When we have Indian Spiced Pork Skewers, it’s Aladdin food, Cowboy Quesadillas are Woody and Jesse food, you catching my drift here?  Try it.

Did you catch the announcement yesterday? You can now create your own online recipe box on OBB!  Click here for all the info, or try the “Save Recipe” button right below, next to the photo of that hottie.


  1. Man, I wish my kid was that easy to convince. I have the pickiest eater alive who would be happy with pasta every day.
    On another note, these look amazing! Can’t wait to try them!

  2. This is such a pretty dish and it sounds delicious! Love how you got your kids to eat them, too. It’s so interesting what people decide they like when they approach it with the right frame of mind 🙂

  3. Love your kid tip…not that it will work for mine. He’s 7 and won’t eat any veggies not even corn. I have to be the sneaky chef. But, your tip is still brillant! Personally, I would rather have Orlando Bloom dinner…ahhhhh! LOL!
    This sounds so yummy. I’m always wanting new ways to dress up pork. I love reading your blog it always starts my day with a smile and usually a laugh AND a fabulous new recipe to try.

  4. Ha! This “it’s always chicken” tip is so, so true. It’s one of the few situations when I will flatly lie to my kids: I know full well it’s mahi mahi, but I marinate it well and tell them it’s chicken. It works about half the time.

    The other trick that has worked with my boys is with my homemade cream of broccoli soup. We don’t say the word broccoli. It’s leprachaun brain soup. And the boys it eat it all.

  5. I laughed out loud when I read “ya, you know who you are.” Hahaha. My grandson has that very same Lego. I’ll use your trick to see if it works on him.

  6. I added this to my ziplist recipe box (which is, by the way sooo cool)and instead of the pork pic you get the 2 ingredient ice cream pic…didn’t know if you had a glitch. I’ll just have to make sure and read the recipe titles and not go on pics alone! Thanks for the site, LOVE it : )

  7. My 3-yr-old sits down to dinner and asks, “What kind of chicken is this, mommy? Is it fish?”

    Fortunately, he’s willing to eat all kinds of “chicken” so we’re lucky!

  8. I was just going to comment like Darla, the ice cream shows up, instead of the pork (FYI) in the recipe box. No worries for me though, I’d rather eat ice cream for dinner anyway! I’m excited to try this, but even more excited that I make a shopping list from your website now!! So easy to meal plan! Thank you!!!

  9. I was wondering what would be yummy to serve with this. The spices sound great but frankly they are throwing me off here as to what to put with it. Any suggestions please?

  10. This sounds delish… but hubby doesn’t like fruit and meat together. 🙁

    I love your Mom Trick – by the time they’re old enough to not be impressed, they’ll be used to trying all sorts of new things. (And you can always say, “well, you liked it when you had it last time.”)

  11. I had to get a chuckle of how you relate the food to a movie character or other attractive thing to your kids; I used to tell my kids that Broccoli was a treestar from the land before time series and it is what Littlefoot was always looking for; they fell for it and my son who is 14 still eats his broccoli (but won’t touch a piece of lettuce, go figure).

    We also made your Rockin’ Italian meatloaf last night and everyone LOVED it!!

  12. Hahaha what a great trick with the kids!!! The pork is delicious looking! Love the spice rub combined with a fruit salsa! And it’s so great that the salsa doesn’t have onion like most salsas… I hate raw onion 🙂

  13. This sounds like the perfect weeknight meal! And it sounds like I’m going to be having a lot of princess dinners in my future!

  14. looks delicious!!! we rarely eat pork, but i think this will be great.
    also looking for something to serve alongside….. some sort of rice maybe?

  15. WE TOTALLY DO THE CHICKEN THING TOO!! I think my mom thinks we’re going straight to hell for lying to our kids constantly. I say, if they eat it, who cares?!?! Now that they are getting older, they want to know the real names, but it’s stil just CHICKEN! Whenever we have skewers, it’s “Castle-Guy Chicken” cause it looks like our food just came off of a sword. This looks fabulous. And THANK YOU THANK YOU for the recipe box saving thingy. You ladies are the BEST!

  16. I love the addition of the mango salsa! Yum! I also love the way you get your kids to eat. We had pork chops the other night and it was chicken until they tried it and liked it then I told them it was pork.

  17. Ha ha ha… think that will work with 15 year olds too???
    p.s. I make a similar rub for pork and chicken… I make a big batch and keep it in a container… makes dinner even faster! Yay!

  18. Made this tonight for dinner…it was so good!!!! Made with chicken thighs( that’s what I had on hand!) Served with homemade sweet potato fries and cilantro rice!!!! Thanks for sharing the recipe : )

  19. What a lovely end of summer meal! I think I’ll still be making plenty of salsas while weather is in the 90’s around here, so this recipe will really come in handy. Thanks for sharing, Sara. It’s always a treat to visit and see what you’re cookin’!

  20. Mmmm, I really like cooking with pork, so this is right up my alley. 🙂 Looks so darn good! AND I love your tips on getting your kids to eat things like this! haha I only have a 1 yr old (and another little one on the way :)), so he doesn’t complain about food yet, but when the time comes, I’ll definitely be remembering your trick! hehe ;P

  21. I love how everyone here is commenting on how delicious it looks (which it does) and the “Pirate food” and “it’s all chicken” and I came over from Google reader to say “Man, I feel really lucky that my pork comes in 4 packs suddenly.” 😛

  22. Haha you make me smile and think back to when my kids were young. I used to do that all the time! Invented a large kiddo-rich farmers family who’d never eat anything “strange” or “foreign” and had family visiting from all over the world (with accents of course ;-)). The deal was: as long as I tell a story, you all eat. And they did!

    Btw… come and live in the Netherlands… they pack everything here in 2, 4 or 8. Occasionally you’ll find 3. We’re a family of five….

  23. This recipe is more like a Puerto Rican recipe due to the spices it calls for. Each Carribean island and country have their own spice blends they use that distinguish their cooking. Therefore, if you don’t like Jamaican spice blends and you like this one, you should stick to Puerto Rican or Cuban.

  24. We made this tonight, and it was awesome! My hubsband even said, “This one’s a keeper!” Best pork chops I’ve ever had, hands down.

  25. Hi Sara, I loved the pork chop with the mango salsa. My daughter is a pescatarian and loves mango. What else would this mango salsa go with? Thank you! Wendy

  26. Made this last night for a dinner party with my Parents and Grandma and LOVED it! Thanks for having a recipe index on your site!

    Also – FYI, I didn’t have all the ingredients for the rub so I just sprinkled garlic salt and pepper and served with the mango salsa on top. Still super yummy – next time I will make sure to have all the spices to get the full flavor effect! Thanks again.

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